I don’t think Mitt Romney should be the President of the United States and not for the reasons you may think a left-leaning, socialist mutt would cite. Let’s take away the politics and look at the man running for president.
When I see Mitt, I think of the quote from Zed in Men In Black
Gentlemen, congratulations. You’re everything we’ve come to expect from years of government training. Now please step this way, as we provide you with our final test: an eye exam…
Substitute the word “government” for “upper class society” and you nailed Mitt.
The presidency is just the next step in a to-do list of things a good upper-crust American is expected to do. This is the formula for a legacy. It’s like he is fulfilling a high school résumé to get into a good college. It becomes problematic when we are watching the formula play out.
- Private school: check
- Missionary work abroad: check
- Marry pretty girl: check
- BYU degree: check
- Create perfect family: check
- Harvard MBA/Law Degree: check
- CEO of a wealth-creating company: check
- Community service (Olympics): check
- Elected position (Gov of Mass): check
- President of the United States: Working on it
And the list goes on to include things like become the elder patriarch, establish a Romney Foundation, etc, etc. It is the perfect data-driven life. Do that, get that result.
I think it was the late Mary-Ellis Bunim, the creator of MTV’s The Real World who once said (and I am paraphrasing because I’m not sure it was her but I’m pretty sure it was MTV) “If the audience ever sees our marketing, the show is dead.” The whole premise of the show — and why it worked the first season — is inscribed in the show’s opening narrative:
This is the true story… of seven strangers… picked to live in a house…work together and have their lives taped… to find out what happens… when people stop being polite… and start getting real…The Real World.
MTV knew they could fake real to teens only if they were successful in hiding the “man behind the curtain.” Once the curtain was pulled back, the gig was up, the magic was gone. The legacy of the 1992 The Real World is a swath of “reality” shows that don’t even pretend to be reality anymore, but rather modern day Gladiator fights.
I don’t often find myself agreeing with Rupert Murdoch*, but I agree with him when he says Mitt “lacks stomach and heart.” Americans like their president to have heart, passion and a depth of soul. Even when we disagree with them, think they are the worst thing to happen to our country in generations, feel they are illegitimate, know they are shady and shifty, we want — we need — them to have passion, fight and guts. We need them to look the world in the eye and say, “tear down this wall” or stand on a pile of rubble with a bullhorn in one hand or stand proud in the face of a plummeting economy on a cold Winter’s day and reassure us all that the only thing we ever need to overcome the deafening wail of economic darkness on the horizon is the tiniest bit of hope that can be fanned into a roaring flame of change.
Even when he attempts to stand up and connect on a visceral level with voters, Mitt falls flat. In his latest reaction to the jobs report this month, he called it a “kick in the gut.” A kick in the gut is losing your job today and your husband losing his tomorrow. A kick in the gut is surviving a spinal cord injury for several years and your wife/caregiver dies of lung cancer less than a year after you. A kick in the gut is surviving three tours abroad and getting into a car accident on your way home from the airport. A kick in the gut is not a crappy jobs report in the middle of a crappy economy. It may be a disappointment. It could be a bit of angst. It could also be a bit of an anxious moment, but it is not a kick in the gut.
Mitt Romney may have the brains; he may have the background and the connections to get things done, but he doesn’t have the heart and guts for what lies ahead.
*I agreed with Murdoch here.